The Aquarium Plant Handbook is perhaps the most comprehensive and up-to-date book on aquatic ornamental plants. Following a foreword of Mr. Takashi Amano the book presents two sections on classification of aquatic plants” and cultivation of aquarium plants”. In the classification section important terms such as “stem plants”, “epiphytic plants”, creeping plants and so forth are meticulously introduced and defined this is indeed a very useful section. Under cultivation, basic requirements to substrate, water chemistry, fertilization and many other relevant issues are explained and also some advice on algae control is offered although the latter section does not offer much new or controversial information. Finally, a brief introduction to the art of aquascaping is provided but this introduction is a little to short in order to offer real useful tips and tricks.
The main section is, of course, devoted to description of individual plant species or cultivars. More than 150 pages each holding 2 to 4 plants, this book describes 400+ species of aquarium plants. The plants are listed in evolutionary order, i.e. first algae then liverworts and mosses followed by ferns and flowering plants. However, under flowering plants, the species are listed alphabetically according to genus and not family. This is probably a wise choice since few hobbyists are very familiar with the plant families. Each plant is portrayed by a color photo with information on pH, temperature, alkalinity and light preferences, and color and origin are given. On top of that, recommendations on planting position in the aquarium are provided together with information on how easy it is to grow, what kind of growth form (stem plant, rosette plant etc.).
Most of the scientific names are up to date although some minor mistakes and errors are found. However, taking into account the large number of species and cultivars described, the number of such mistakes is definitely acceptable. Buy this book if you need an encyclopedia on aquarium plants which hold information on many plants which are not even yet available in the shops.